Roasted Poblanos in Cream Sauce (Rajas Con Crema)

Rajas con Crema are flame roasted poblano chiles, cut into strips and cooked with onions, Mexican cream, and Monterey Jack cheese. Delicious!

Elise Bauer

The first time I had roasted poblanos in a cream sauce (rajas de poblano con crema), it was at the breakfast buffet at a resort in Ixtapa, Mexico. If you like poblano chile peppers, cooking them in a cream sauce is a fabulous way to serve them.

Why Serve Cream With Chiles?

There's a good reason spicy Mexican food is often served with dairy.

Milk proteins neutralize the spicy capsaicin molecules in hot chilies. So you get less of the bite of the chile and more of the actual flavor of it. Meaning you will be able to better taste the wonderful roasted poblano chiles if they are bathed in a creamy sauce.

Roasted Poblanos with cream, Mexican Rajas con crema
Elise Bauer

How to Make Rajas Con Crema

In this case, the rajas sauce is made with Mexican "crema", a sort of sour cream that's a lot like crème fraîche, along with milk, and Monterey Jack cheese. First you roast the poblanos directly over flame to get them charred, for flavor and to make the easier to peel.

Then you cut them into strips, and simmer them with sliced onions in the cream sauce. Serve them as a side to Mexican dishes, or rolled up in warmed tortillas. So good!

use poblano chile peppers for roasted poblanos with cream, or rajas con crema
Poblanos in my garden. Elise Bauer

Most of the recipes I've found online for this dish have the strips cut fairly thin, about 1/2 inch thick or so. But in Ixtapa, where I was first introduced to rajas, roasted poblanos in crema, the peppers were sliced thick, one or two inch wide strips. So that's how I've reproduced them here.

You can find Crema Mexicana at any Mexican market, or in California, any major grocery store. If you can't find it where you are, you can substitute with creme fraiche, which is very similar.

Roasted Poblanos in Cream Sauce (Rajas Con Crema)

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 6 fresh poblano chilies

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 white onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip), 1/4-inch slices

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup Mexcian crema (Mexican sour cream) or crème fraîche

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Char the whole poblano chiles:

    Char the whole poblano chile peppers on all sides. The best way to do this is over an open flame of a gas stove. Just place the raw whole chile peppers directly on the grate covering the flame and let the flame blacken the outside skin of the peppers. When one side has blackened, use tongs to turn the chile over a little so the flame can blacken another side.

    char poblano peppers over an open flame for rajas con crema
    Elise Bauer
    char poblano peppers on all sides for roasted poblanos
    Elise Bauer

    You can also use a broiler to blacken the chile peppers, but direct flame is the best way. Sometimes with a broiler the chiles end up cooking too much before they blacken. They should still be a little firm. This is easier to control when you cook them directly over flame.

  2. Place the chiles in a bowl, cover:

    Once the peppers are blackened all over (you can still have a few green spots), place them in a glass bowl and cover them with a plate. Let the chiles steam in their own heat for a few minutes.

  3. Wipe away the charred bits:

    When the chiles are cool to touch, remove them from the bowl. Working over a sink (this part is messy) use your fingers or a damp towel to strip off the blackened parts. Try to avoid running the chiles themselves under water, as that may wash away some good flavor. But you may find it easier to rinse your hands with water as you are stripping the blackened bits off.

  4. Open the chiles, remove stems, seeds, inner veins, then cut the chiles into strips:

    Once the blackened outer skin is removed, open up the chiles and cut out and discard the stems, seeds, and inner veins. Cut the chiles into long strips, about an inch wide. Many recipes call for thin strips, about a half inch wide, which you can do if you want. I just like them with thicker strips. Set aside.

  5. Cook onions in butter:

    Heat the butter (can use vegetable oil instead if you want) in a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    cook onions for poblanos con crema
    Elise Bauer
  6. Add the chiles, crema, milk:

    Add the poblano chiles to the onions. Sprinkle the chiles with salt. Add the Mexican crema and the milk. Gently stir to coat the chiles. Let cook for several minutes, until the chiles are completely cooked through and the sauce is bubbly and a little reduced.

    add strips of roasted poblanos to the onions for rajas con crema
    Elise Bauer
    add cream and cheese to the roasted poblanos for the best rajas con crema
    Elise Bauer
  7. Stir in the grated cheese:

    Sprinkle in the grated jack cheese. Stir with the hot crema sauce until the cheese has melted and mixed in with the crema sauce.

    Serve with warmed corn or flour tortillas.


How to Roast Chile Peppers over a Gas Flame

Roasted chile poblano with crema soup - from Serious Eats

Rajas con crema - from The Other Side of the Tortilla

Rajas con crema in the LA Times

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
95 Calories
8g Fat
3g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 95
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 272mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 7mg 34%
Calcium 93mg 7%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 90mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.